Accused Murderer/Arsonist Awaits Verdict

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SCRANTON -- Testimony came to a close Tuesday morning at the trial for a man accused of setting a fire in Scranton that killed two young boys back in 2009.

The fate of William Woods is now in the hands of the judge.

As part of a deal made with prosecutors, Woods agreed to have only a judge decide a verdict in his case. Attorneys for both sides wrapped up Tuesday morning and Judge Tom Munley says he will reach a verdict by Thursday afternoon.

But, Woods said in court he feels the judge has already made up his mind.

Accused murderer and arsonist William Woods was arrested in 2010. He's been behind bars awaiting trial since then. And finally this week, Woods had the opportunity to say his piece. But, he declined.

Defense attorneys took over in the fifth day of testimony at the Lackawanna County Courthouse, expecting their client to take the stand in his own defense. But, Woods backed down at the last-minute.

Woods shouted to the judge from his seat, "I'm not going to get up on that stand, your honor. It's not going to change your decision. You already have your decision made up."

Woods is on trial for murder and arson for allegedly setting fire to his ex-girlfriend's house in West Scranton in 2009. Two of Tyaisha's Leary's sons died from burns and breathing in too much smoke.

To Leary, who's sat in on the trial each day, Woods outburst wasn't a surprise.

"He doesn't care. Your life is on the line and you would speak to the judge that way? It doesn't make sense," said Leary, the victims' mother.

Defense attorneys called only one witness, one of woods' fellow inmates. They also asked to have some of the charges against Woods dropped.
District Attorney Andy Jarbola agreed to the motion.

Woods is still facing 19 charges including arson and first degree murder.

"I think it was a pretty strong circumstantial case that was presented to the judge. Now, obviously, he will have to make his decision," Jarbola said.

"Thursday is just going to be a beginning to an end. But, for me it's never going to be over it's the rest of my life. I'm supposed to be raising three children and watching them flourish, grow up, graduate, possibly marriage. And I'll never get to do any of those things," added Leary.

Lackawanna County President Judge Tom Munley is expected to announce his verdict Thursday afternoon. It's not clear whether or not William Woods will be sentenced on the spot. But, the maximum penalty he's facing is life in prison.